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73 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now we have all reached the automotive equivalent of a zen state of conciousness i.e owning a Saab, I was wondering what the worst car you have ever owned was, and why?

Just a bit of fun really for the festive season.

For me, it was my first car, a Hillman Avenger 1.3! Awful thing, couldn't lock it, started the car with a screwdriver, had no 3rd gear,leaked water out of some plugs on the engine block & had absolutely no street cred!
I look forward to hearing of other peoples misguided purchases before reaching this enlightened state of existence ;-)

ps. I didn't learn very quickly in my youth, the next car I had was a Rover SD1... need I say more!

187 Posts
HI, Highlander,

good question for a thread!!!!!

hillman avenger, rover sd1, are you showing your age. (only joking).

the worst car i had in terms of reliability was a renualt 19 16valve, had it 6 months and spent over a grand on it, needless to say thats why it only lasted 6 months on me drive. you name it i replaced it, and what a pig to work on!!!

had most fords, a vauxhall, few golf gti,vr6, then the family got bigger so i wanted somit big reliable and fast, had a go in my freinds carlsson and been hooked ever since.

happy saabing.

8,948 Posts
Cars I have and have owned...

1988 - 89, '78 99 GL super 4dr
1989 - 90, '82 99 GLs 2dr
1990 - 92, '86 900i 8v 3dr
1991 - 92, '78 99 Turbo 3dr
1992 - 95, '90 900 Carlsson 3dr
1992 - curr, '90 900s 16v 3dr (looking after for brother)
1994 - 94, '86 900 Turbo 8v intercooled 3 dr
1994 - curr, '85 900 Turbo 8v 3dr
1992 - 01, '80 99 Turbo 2dr
1995 - curr, '94 CS Aero 5dr
1999 - curr, '84 900 Turbo 8v 5dr
2001 - curr, '91 9000 Carlsson 5dr

Also had short term or looked after, or owned by family members.

'83 99 GL 2dr (two of)
'83 900 GLs 5dr
'85 900 GLi s pack 5dr
'88 9000i s pack 5dr
'90 9000 CDE
'89 900s 16v 3 dr
'82 900 GL 4dr
'85 900i 3dr
'86 900T 8v 3dr
'88 9000S 5dr
'90 9000CDE 4dr
'92 CSE 2.3T 5dr
'72 MGB GT
'88 Mini

Worst car? toss up between '82 99 GLs and '86 900 T8v Intcooled.

8,948 Posts
I have variety, 99, 900, 9000/CS/CD, twin carb, injection and turbo, 8v and 16v. what more could you want other than 3cyl 0v????

I do drive the mini too.......sometimes.

oh, and I forgot the '82 900S lhd 4dr I owned.....

I've driven other cars (company/hire etc), cavalier, mondeo, escort, fiesta, pug 306, vectra, astra, vans, galaxy, octavia, fabia, felica, a4, omega, impreza, prelude etc, all were diabolical except the little Skoda Octavia.


244 Posts
worst..a brand new mini 1000 in 1986. if it looked at a drop of water and would not start or, if it was already running, stopped. i am not one for conspiracy theories BUT!!! i think the production line all had shares in WD40. and it was a rust magnet. and it ate tyres.

all time favourite was an E34 BMW 535 sport and my first 205 gti 1.9....K&N, Sebring exhaust, remapped ECU, uprated pads....did it ever fly?

1,436 Posts
It was the best of cars and the worst of cars ....

Hillman Imp. It would take just about anything from the lights, but you'd have to be in a built-up area because it ran out of steam at about 55mph, thereafter it was a steady progession to top speed of about 90mph. Handling was superb, provided I kept the nose weighted down. We lived on a steep road in Scotland and me in my Imp (rear engine, RWD) and my father in his SAAB '95 (that I'd learned to drive in) were the only cars that could get home in the snow.

I had a problem with the Imp that puzzled the garage and me for about 3 months. Ran out of power, had to rev very high to keep going. Traced to blocked fuel filter. Garage (main agent) said I was using dirty fuel. Eventually a mate with the same car solved it, he'd the same problem. The fuel filler cap used a fibre washer and every time it was screwed down a bit more fibre was added to the engine's diet.

I guess that says as much about the quality of the garage as it does about the manufacturing quality.

My vehicle progession (reps cars and my own cars is as follows:

Escort Mk1
Escort Mk1
Escort Popular Plus (not popular)
Cortina MkII
Vauxhall Cavalier MkI
Metro City (in which I covered a sales area of Scotland and North England - now that was a hellish car for a hellish job)
Volvo 245
Granada 2.8 ghia (my third favourite car)
Vauxhall Senator II
Vaixhall Carlton I
Vauxhall Senator CD
Volvo 240
BMW 520 (over-rated and uncomfortable for long runs - if you've got a bad back
Volvo 740 (second favourite. Very quick and stable once I put gas shockers and larger wheels on. More comfortable for runs of 500+ miles than the BMW was over 50 miles)
SAAB 9000 SE (favourite)

287 Posts
Sorry forgot to list my motors.....

Datsun 100E ? Can't remember the model.
Swapped the above for a 3 litre Capri never had in on the road though.
1978 MKII 1.3L Ford Escort
1974 Triumph Toledo 1300 - great car
1978 Triumph Dolomite - almost as good as the Toledo
1983 MKIII Ford Escort
1986 Lancia Prisma LX - complete pile of [expletive deleted]!
1989 Saab 900i 16v
1991 Saab 900i 16v Convertible (current)
1984 Saab 900T16S (current)
1981 Saab 900 T8 (dead)

and bikes......

Yamaha FSIE (Custom)fantastic bike - 63 mph!!!! flat out
Yamaha RD125LC - over 100 mph!!!!
Honda CB550 four
Honda RS250
Kawasaki GPz550D1 (current but in bits)

5,925 Posts
I have had (including company cars):

Morris Marina 1.8HL TC (Fast but didn't like corners).
Ford Cortina 2.0S (gearstick came off after 13 miles)
Ford Escort XR3i (used to think this was quick).
Ford Orion 1.6GL (nice but dull)
Saab 9000 XS 2.0i (my first and probably the best nick)
Ford Sierra 2.0 Ghia Estate (changed from Saab to save money, though 22mpg didn't save much).
Ford Escort 1.3 Cosmopolitan (i.e. colour coded wing mirrors)
Saab 9000 CS 2.0S LPT - Excellent car - shoudl not have sold.
Renault Laguna 2.0RT - first co. car, nice but dull.
Renault Megane Scenic - no comment
Renault Lagnua 2.0RT Auto - bit of a wreck
VW Passat 2.0SE - current co. car, nice and solid
Saab 9000 Carlsson 2.3T - this is fast. My "performance muppet" car. The VW does the work, and the Carlsson gets all the play!

Want a 9-5 Aero. 1985 Aston Martin Vantage would also be nice. And a TVR 450 SEAC .... ZZzzzz (dreaming).

Kevin Mc (bored at work)
1991 9000 Carlsson 2.3T

1,610 Posts
Here's my list:-

Wolseley 1500 - a give me !
Always stank of petrol for some reason, but lot's of fun for a first car. Had to sell it on in the end, because if I had had a puncture, there would have been no way of jacking the car up safely. The bodywork gave rusty crunchy noises if I tried! The buyer intended restoring the car.

Ford Cortina 2000E Mk3 Auto
My first intro to Automatics. My Dad did everything in his power to stop me buying it. 'What do you want an automatic for ? They are expensive to run and repair......blah blah blah.' He was a Sales Rep for 35 years, around London and the Home Counties, doing 40k miles a year, always in manuals,each day on the road, and once he had driven it himself, wished he had had an auto one all those years. In fact he quickly laid up His Morris Marina 1.3 deluxe (!), and the 2000E became the family car.

Ford Granada Mk2 2.8 GL auto.
OK. I liked the idea of having a big car, and a V6 or v8. Cries of 'What do you want a v6/v8 for .......expense again ....!' I always fancied a Granada, too, although I came close to a Rover SD1 V8, too. The Rover's seemed so practical. Granny had all the toys. Again, it was a battle with Dad, and I won. He'd never experienced
PAS before - unbelievable by today's standards - or the joys of a sunroof! He never got over how quiet and smooth the car was. So easy to work on and replace bits, which wasn't really all that frequent. Starter motor needed thumping with a piece of wood and a mallet - kept in the boot - regularly, even after the ring and motor itself were replaced. Just one of its endearing charms. Got through two radiators, two water pumps, steering racks, and countless sets of tyres. Granny was serviced, loved and used !! I had this car for 7 years, until it was stolen and vandalised in Cardiff. Wish I had never seen the state it was returned to me. Broke my heart! Insurance write off.

Vauxhall Cavalier Mk2 1.6 GL
Needed something smaller since there were now more bills I had to pay, and this fitted the needs, surprisingly luxurious for what it was, although I missed the PAS, Auto, and other toys I once had. No probs at all.

Vauxhall Cavalier 1.8 Cdi
Oportunity came along so I rectified the missing extras with this, (apart from auto!) Surprisingly quick economic and relaxed motoring, but not so comfortable on long journeys as the 1.6GL

Peugeot 405 GRi
Drove a friends one, and was most impressed, and so decided to have one myself when the time came. Comfortable, and posh for its era, but no PAS again! Felt in the end that it was too much like a Rep's car!

Peugeot 405 Mi16
Opportunity arose and so I grabbed it with both hands. Excellent car, just a pity that it fell apart! But there again, it didn't owe me anything in the end, as I did run it into the ground. I had it for 6 years. Bought from me for £200, by someone who has since restored it extremely well.It's a bit of a 'Gary' car now.

Saab 9000 2.3 Turbo CSE 5 speed
Probably the pick of the bunch without question. had it 4 years, 135k on the clock when bought. FSH, which I have and shall maintain. looks good to at least double that. Again I intend running into the ground, and there's a fair drop yet. Only major thing to go wrong is the AC compressor, which I have posted queries here about. Really not sure whether I should have gone for an auto at the time. I am a bit of a fan of them, but would have missed the fun of a manual too. Since buying I have taken up biking too in a big way - Suzuki 1200 Bandit - so the next car will definitely be an auto ! Saab? Maybe........

6 Posts
worst automatic..just would not start in the mornings ..subframe rusted through ..held together by filler and newspaper
Best car ..toss up between alfasud 1200 ti
and 88 900 turbo 16 s
alfa for peerless handling
the 900 for power (abbott exhaust,k+n,front mounted intercooler and tweaked apc)man it was fast but it got through too many transmission parts and now is no more..but blowing away porches was something !

243 Posts
Just to confirm my 'string backed driving gloves and hat status here's Daves list

Renault 4 - oh dear, bright yellow, slower than a slow thing taking it easy (pulling the choke out gave you an extra 5mph overtaking grunt) lost badly in an accident with a Sierra. [expletive deleted]

Triumph Dolomite 1500 - loved everything about that car apart from the rust.....

Austin Allegro - one of the early ones (just post square steering wheel version) very slow after the Triumph but was very reliable believe it or not and had extra comedy value as a 4x4 lookialike when you 'accidentaly' overpressurised the hydrogas suspension. Sad to say I have quite fond memories of it.

Ford Capri MK3 1600 GL - Vinyl roof, speed stripes etc etc - loved it (!!!) but swappped it for......

Ford Capri MK1 1600 GT - and regreted it instantly but managed to px it a couple of months later for a...

Ford Capri MK3 2.8 Injection Special - low mileage, in mint condition and I loved it dearly (yes I know...). Sadly I went back to university and it was too expensive to run so......

Nissan Bluebird 1.6LX - discovered in my Grandathers garage gathering dust and mold, only 56 tho on the clock and free... actualy they're unbeatable in terms of reliability, geting from A to B ability and no car thief/joyrider will touch them with a 10 foot pole

Ford Cortina MK2 1300 - horrible

Nissan Bluebird ZX Turbo - Well it had 6 months MOT, a Blaupunkt Stereo and was £50 - very stupid car but suprisingly quick.

Saab 9000S - not the most desirable Saab I know but in good condition, full leather, CD multichanger and £350 - definitely among my favorites.

Oh and bikes?

CG125 - you have to pass your test on something.....

Honda CBX750 - not half bad when they work - still got it under a sheet in the garage.

Kawasaki GPX 750 - pretty quick but a very light front end.....

Honda CBR600 - can't fault them realy but not as quick as....

Kawasaki ZX9R - one of the later models with the suspension mods and!, not as quick as an R1 perhaps but quicker than me and much quicker than any Saab.

Other cars driven for a decent period? TVR Griffith (wasn't too keen believe it or not), Plus 8 Morgan (no no no no! my father loves it tho) Saab CSE 2.3 turbo (marvelous car, can't honestly see why making it faster would make it better but can see the point of suspension work) Renault 6 (ahhhhhh!!!), Fiat Uno (double ahhhhhhhhh!!!!) Peugot 106 (not bad at all for what it is) Lancia Y10 (the worst build quality ever, without fail 80+ mph would cause the trim from round the windscreen to fly off, electric windows.....anything electric....rust) but handled and went pretty well.

73 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
ok, some more of my less than brilliant car buying moments, plus a few good cars once I finally learnt about what to look for & how to fix it!

The good: Vauxhall Senator 3.0CDi. Wonderful car, had 175k on the clock with total f.s.h. I mean every single receipt! cost £1500 and never once went wrong until ex-wife wrote it off!
Senator 3.0 24v. Wow, this thing REALLY shifted for a big car & handled amazingly well. Had a few niggles, but was a great motor & startled the hell out of most things . Should never have sold it! overall 2nd favourite car.
Peugeot 405 1.9SRi.Great handling car,not the fastest thing around,but chasis & suspension was sublime.Brother now has it, seems very happy.

The Bad: Jaguar XJ12. Picked it up at an auction, last car through, got it for £500. nothing major, but by christ it drank petrol!
Insurance was terrifying too! sold it after 6 weeks, too much!
Rover sd1 3.5 Vanden Plas. Ok,it had a wonderful engine, love the sound of a V8! But, it was terrible to drive,the lightest p.a.s you can imagine, scary brakes, terrifying handling,didn't just oversteer, gave up entirely & did 4 wheel slides
Rover 827 Sterling. Judging on my previous experiences with Rover's, most people would have been smart enough to not touch, but I figured it has to be better than the SD1, and besides, it had lots of toys!!
Again, great engine note(honda 2.7 24v) but an nightmare to work on, which I did regularly! Again dreadful handling,(have Rover made a car yet with a decent chasis & suspension??). Finally got fed up with all the niggles.

The Ugly: Ford Cortina mk4 1.6 Bought it when I was 20, thought it looked cool, all black, Carlos Fandango wheels etc...Bloody awful thing.Dubious show & absolutely no go!!
Morris Marina 1.7...don't think I need to say anything! (I was young & broke!)
Renault 18TL. Nooooooo!!
Fiat Uno turbo...damn quick when it worked, which was very rarely! A complete lemon!
Lancia Prisma...WHY???????

But the worst of all?...the one I really should never have bought?.....

Vauxhall Viceroy. Had this car for 6 days, got a blowout 1st day (scary!!!),cooling hose burst 3rd day(ouch hot hot hot!!!) & got written off by a bus going through a red light on the 6th day!! 3 broken ribs, broken arm,multiple cuts. Sometimes, you just know a car is jinxed!!!

As for bikes, well owned a few in my time, DT50 (hey I was learning!).250 superdream, it was cheap!(and anything but a dream!).
RD350 YPVS.Wahaaay!!!!...followed by bang! a few months later! CBR600.Excellent all round bike. CBR1000.Very fast & very good, as long as you remembered it does not go round bends as quickly as the fireblade! I learnt this, suddenly!! Last bike, ZZR1100...wonderful & terrifyingly fast!! I am getting another in the new year now I don't have a wife to pay for!

Finally, fave car, '91 2.3t CDE manual I have now. Will be even better once I get the handling sorted & the Abbott ecu ugrade (yes Dave I guess I am a performance muppet! ;-))

208 Posts
Mine starts a bit like Dave B...
Renault 4: Yellow! learnt to drive in it and was amazed you could get the speedo off the top on a flat road. Great car if you don't get seasick! scrapped at about 80k miles?
Dolomite 1850. Terrible. Blew 3 head gaskets, exhaust was always falling off and it rusted away. scrapped at around 90k miles.

Allegro estate. Cost me £95 will 12 months MOT. Did 10000 miles without problems including numerous trips fully laden with camping and canoeing kit. Great car whatever people say about them. Did tend to use oil though scrapped after the mot ran out, I had bought it as a disposable car!

Pug 105 (?? little thing like a talbot samba). Eat shocks and tyres but revved to 7k with easy. fun but not fast. Scrapped after 2 years but then it did only cost me £25!

Vauxhall Nova saloon. Huge boot and pretty reliable until its gearbox went. px for the Citroen.

Citroen BX. Great load carrier and very reliable. The only car I have owned than handled better when the boot was full of wine. Very underated. Sold and replaced with the Primera.

Toyota Celica GT. My first "fun" car. Very easy to drive (a bit of a womens car!) but great fun if driven like a holigan. Bought Cheap and survived 3 years of real abuse and a few track days before being scrapped because the mouldy interior was getting a bit unpleasant! (the roof leaked badly)

Nissan Primera. Still got this one! Reliable, fun to drive and cheap to run. Shame it looks so boring. 1600 engine and gearbox are very sweet. Now pretty much worthless but still reliable so I might keep it for road rallies etc but we will see.

Lotus Excel. Bought to replace the Celica. Old and knackered but still makes me grin every time I get in it. Opposite end of the spectrum in all respects to the Saab.

Saab 9000 2.0 lpt. confortable, fast but very heavy and thirsty. My favorite all round car but not a patch on the lotus for fun factor.

Best bargain? Allegro. Petrol and oil was all it needed for a year.
Best car? Saab for all round use. Lotus for fun.
Worst? Dolomite for unreliability and lack of performance.

83 Posts
Not as big a list as most of you but here goes:

1) 1985 Renault 11 TXE Electronic. Bought in 1995 for £900 and lasted me through my final year at uni. It was well equipped compared to my peer's motors, including digital dash and spoken warnings. Had reasonable go for a first car but didn't like corners as much as I did.

2) 1994 Ford Mondeo 1.8 GLX. PX'd the Renault for a 'sensible car' once I started working with a 60-mile round trip commute. Did the job admirably and took lots of abuse.

3) 1989 Toyota MK2 T-Bar. Saved some cash and bought this privately, selling the Mondeo for peanuts. Couldn't belive you could have such a sportscar experience for so little money. This was a car that liked the corners as much as me!!! Reliable but expensive to maintain.

4) 1999 Lotus Elise. I am in love with this car and drive it as often as I can. 40k miles in 2 years and several track days under it's belt. No plans to replace it - just upgrade as and when I can.

5) 1993 Saab 9000 2.0S. Bought as a second car for its winter and practical abilities. Perfect compliment to the Elise - they don't really have any overlapping abilities!


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